23. How does Project ONE fit into the climate ambitions of the port of Antwerp and the government?
INEOS endorses these ambitions. For example, we support the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement and the European Green Deal. And this is not just words. With Project ONE, we are building one of the most energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly installations in Europe. We’re also investing in research into technology for the capture and storage of CO2 (among other research topics). Technology that we already provide space for today on the Project ONE site. Incidentally, we have been capturing CO2 at our INEOS Oxide site in Zwijndrecht for 10 years now, and the captured CO2 is used for industrial use via the BECO2 joint venture.
In November 2020 we announced that we are in the process of developing a roadmap for all Antwerp sites to become climate neutral by 2050 at the latest. Focus of the roadmap is on ‘at source’ solutions such as changing to green power and clean heat, reusing hydrogen and CO2, further investment in electrification and where appropriate switching to recycled or bio-feedstock .”
The INEOS commitment takes into account the EUs ambition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to at least 55% below 1990 levels by 2030.
The route to a climate-neutral future runs in stages. Project ONE is already making a fundamental difference by making maximum use of the very best of what today’s technology offers. Customers supplied with ethylene from Project ONE can reduce their CO2 emissions by 2 million tonnes per year because they are no longer dependent on ethylene from more polluting plants. And our ambition reaches even further. We have incorporated flexibility into our plants to allow us to reduce our footprint further and integrate other technologies as soon as they are mature. For example, it is technologically possible to feed the cracking ovens and steam generators of Project ONE entirely with hydrogen, provided that enough green hydrogen is available. With the investments currently being made in hydrogen technology, including in Flanders, it looks like this will be possible in future. Our design also has room for a carbon capture installation, so this option can also be utilised.
22. What does Project ONE mean for the climate?
By employing the latest technologies for Project ONE, INEOS is striving to keep the impact on the climate as low as possible.
By using the latest technologies, Project ONE’s ethane cracker will emit, on average, less than half of the CO2 than the best performing comparable installations in Europe. The hydrogen which is generated as a by-product during the ethylene production process is used as carbon-free fuel: hydrogen does not release any CO2 when burned. As a result we can significantly reduce the use of natural gas. Our record low footprint raises the bar for older, polluting installations (for example, via the European Union Emissions Trading System). Project ONE emits 0.29 tonnes of CO2 per tonne of product or just 43% of the current EU ETS benchmark value of 0.68 tonnes of CO2 per tonne of product. When Project ONE comes online, it will tighten the EU ETS benchmark value by around 14%. Steam crackers in the EU ETS system that do not meet this lower benchmark value will have to buy additional emission rights to cover emissions or take more emission reduction measures.
Buyers of the ethylene produced by Project ONE will save 2 million tonnes of CO2 per annum as they no longer need to rely on the ethylene from older and more polluting plants.
Also, the products made from ethylene will ultimately save twice as much CO2 as was necessary for their production – because they make end-products (e.g. cars) lighter and with longer lifetimes.
We’re also providing space on the Project ONE site for the collection of CO2. The current technology for capturing CO2 from flue gases is still very energy-intensive, and there is currently no network for discharging the collected CO2. We expect important technological breakthroughs in the near future that will make CO2 capture much more efficient. A study is currently being carried out to realize such a CO2 discharge infrastructure in the port of Antwerp. INEOS is working on this with other players from the port of Antwerp via the Antwerp@C consortium.
Project ONE guarantees very high energy-efficiency. The maximum recovery of heat and cold flows ensures lower energy consumption. For example, the cold energy of the cryogenic ethane supplied, and the heat of the furnaces of the ethane installations, will be reused elsewhere in the process and less external steam will have to be generated.
In the design of the ethane cracker, very ‘selective’ technologies have been chosen that contribute to a maximum conversion of the raw materials into high-quality chemicals. This results in a particularly high carbon-efficiency of almost 90% – which is much higher than in installations that use crude oil instead of ethane or propane. This means that barely 10% of the carbon present in the raw materials is converted into CO2, the remainder is converted into a high-quality chemical building block.
21. Will Project ONE produce plastic that ends up in the environment?
The basic chemicals produced are building block of numerous products from our daily life. Think of insulation materials, pipes, lightweight materials that reduce car fuel consumption and emissions, medical applications such as disinfectant hand gel, syringes, intravenous bags, MRI scanning devices and sterile packaging, wind turbines, packaging materials that lengthen the storage time of foods, and so on.
Plastics are not intended to end up in the natural environment . It’s not the plastics themselves, but the pollution caused by discarded plastics that we, as a society, must tackle. INEOS’ vision is that we should evolve into a world where plastics are not viewed as disposable products, but valuable materials. That’s why INEOS invests heavily in the advanced recycling of plastics – and today, all of INEOS’ polymers are already recyclable. You can read more about this in the INEOS Pledge. By 2025 INEOS has committed to processing at least 325,000 tons of recycled material into products; using an average of 30% recycled material in products intended for polystyrene packaging in Europe; bringing a range of polyolefin products to market for packaging materials in Europe with at least 50% recycled material; and ensuring that 100% of our polymers are recyclable.
At INEOS’ research centre in Neder-over-Heembeek, they have achieved a breakthrough in mechanical recycling with their Recycl-IN products, which have been developed and tested in Belgium. These are granules composed of 50% recycled and 50% new material.
INEOS has also developed a new biopolymer produced from a residue of the pulp and paper industry that helps produce plastics with 90% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
INEOS supports various initiatives to remove plastics that have ended up in the environment. Just think of Operation Clean Sweep in the port of Antwerp, the Ocean Clean-up, and other sustainability initiatives of the port of Antwerp.